Hacks/Hackers

12Jul11

First off, apologies for all those who’ve been missing the DWS molten eloquence. I’ve taken on a new start-up project, so it’s all busy busy busy (mainly working out what I’ll do with my untold riches when my ship comes in – colossal equestrian statues and gold-plated yachts, I imagine).

There have been some good non-start-up things blipping my blipper, though. A month or so back I managed to squeeze in a session at Hacks/Hackers, for example. If you don’t know H/H, it’s a meetup for journos (hacks) and techies (hackers) to smash around with different ideas of media and how we can make it better.

This sesh was at the Guardian stronghold in Kings Cross, and was hosted by Mozilla, so immediately attracting the right mix of techheads and embittered fag-ash journalists. And though there was a serious theme to it, it was really a chance to try out daft ideas. How do we stop trolls from sabotaging message boards, for instance? How can we take video beyond the flat-screen embedded vids? Can we ever create ‘people-powered news’?

The various heads all got together over pizza and post-its. I was in a group of designers, techies and content-producers tackling the problem of getting the right people involved in the right conversations. And after a certain amount of charading, thought-showering and pissing around, we came up with Badger (TM), a tool to invite people to add expert opinion to chat rooms.

I seriously doubt it’s going to win any nobel prizes or sate my desire for equestrian statues for the moment, but, as always, it’s a joy to try out new forms of journalism and storytelling with curious minds, particularly when media’s in such a sorry state.

If you wanna see more crap about Badger (TM), have a glance at our glossy, high-end, pitching video (which we themed to cash into the upcoming Harry Potter flick):

Oh, and this is a thing from another Mozilla sesh; some Dundee University students’ anatomy of a comments thread, which made me nostril-laugh somewhat:

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